Ahead of the British and Irish Lions’ first game of the 2001 tour of Australia, their Kiwi head coach Graham Henry decided to give his charges one final pep talk. He finished his speech with the truly uninspiring words: “These people down here in the southern hemisphere doubt your skills. I know. I’m one of them.”
The Lions went on to destroy a team of Perth-based postmen and bricklayers 116-10 but lost the series. Henry received more than his fair share of the blame.
When interviewed before last Saturday’s opening test of the Steinlager Series between New Zealand and England, the young All Black lock Brodie Retallick failed to name a single opposition player. He managed to get Courtney Lawes’ surname right but playing it safe by giving him the first name Michael didn’t work out too well. So close Brodie, you nearly styled that one out. You would’ve gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those pesky journalists.
The long and the short of it is that if you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, not only do the All Blacks not rate you; they don’t even know who you are. You only earn their respect when you turn them over (think Ivan Drago in Rocky 4). While a mainly second and third string England side ran the world champions close in Eden Park on Saturday, the fact remains they lost 20-15.
Now here on the Paddy Power blog we know full well that an Englishman would never over indulged in hubris but it is still fair to say that the away dressing room would’ve been a happier place than the home one at full time. The All Blacks don’t like it when they let the crowd down and letting the English get that close would’ve right royally pissed them off.
The England team will be bolstered by the return of first choice players for this weekend’s second test which makes the 10/11 handicap giving them a +13 head start look an interesting price. If you fancy the English to upset the odds and claim the win in Dunedin this Saturday they are available at 5/1.
However it’s worth keeping in mind that two years ago Ireland put in one of their greatest ever performances on a filthy night in Christchurch, only to lose to the All Blacks thanks to a last minute drop goal from Dan Carter. The following week they were humped 60-nil. The lesson here being when your does chance come around you’ve got to grab it like Russell Brand would a buxom young lady with low self-esteem.
Beware the pissed off All Black, they don’t know your name and they don’t want to know it.
It’s Money Back on all losing try scorer bets on the match should the first try be scored by a forward.